Ghosted After an Interview? Here’s Why Companies Do It

UPDATED: April 1, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 22, 2024
Disappointed man looking at his phone because he's being ghosted after a job interview

You polish your résumé and obsess over the wording in your cover letter. After submitting dozens, even hundreds of applications, you get a callback. You research the company, prepare for the interview and show up looking the part. You send the thank you note and even have a few follow-up interviews, which you think went well. And then, you wait. And wait. You send a follow-up email to check in. Maybe another one. But nothing. You’ve been “ghosted.”

Never hearing back from a company after an interview—aka: being ghosted after the interview—is exceptionally frustrating and experienced by more than 75% of job seekers, according to a recent Greenhouse survey. Additionally, a survey by Indeed found that 10% of applicants have even been ghosted after receiving a verbal offer for a position. That same survey reported that 51% of job seekers felt that employers were ghosting more regularly now than they did pre-pandemic.

Why do companies ghost you after an interview? Did hiring managers forget their manners? Or do they think you are as disposable as they are treating you? Dr. Jenny Woo, founder and CEO of Mind Brain Emotion, and a Harvard-trained educator and researcher on emotional intelligence weighs in. “Getting ghosted by employers has become increasingly prevalent post-pandemic, and in part, a trend intensified by the Great Resignation,” Woo says. 

“The sad truth is that ghosting is a two-way street. During the Great Resignation, we saw a surge in job seekers ghosting employers and new hires not showing up for their first day of work. As power dynamics shift back toward employers in today’s job market, ghosting by employers is a problem that’s here to stay—becoming part of what you might expect in a job search process.”

Here’s what to know about what’s happening behind the scenes if you’ve been ghosted.

Getting ghosted after an interview has become commonplace

Trying to get a job is an emotionally draining undertaking. Brittany Conklin, a public relations professional and job seeker, says in her field, being responsive is a “vital attribute,” yet one potential employers are sometimes missing. 

“I am currently being ghosted by three companies who have not responded to my follow-up emails after interviews. Some wait weeks and even months before updating me on my candidacy. Add this to the fact that I have applied to 254 jobs in 10 months, and it’s a very frustrating process,” she says. 

Boost Your Income for Life offer

She made a spreadsheet to track potential employers’ responses and found that she’s being ghosted around a quarter of the time, which she calls “shocking,” especially given the time and energy it takes to apply.

“I do believe ghosting is becoming more frequent in our society in all relationships, professional included, but it shouldn’t be accepted,” she says. “For the amount of time a candidate has to put in to applying for each position, about 20 to 40 minutes per application, then researching the company for the interview and drafting questions to ask, as well as the time for the interview, it is disrespectful not to let candidates know what happened.”

Why do companies ghost you after an interview?

Others, such as Nikki* (who requested to be anonymous to maintain her privacy) in Portland, Oregon, say unpaid tests are an additional unacceptable step if a company is going to ghost you. The company she was interviewing with didn’t even show up to the interview after the test assignment. “The day came; I was ready for the Zoom. I launched the video chat, waited, and no one ever showed up. Not a soul. I was so disappointed. I wrote them an email, letting them know I had arrived, and no one was there. I even sent them a text asking them to reschedule. No one ever responded to me or got back to me,” she says.

“Strangely, several weeks later, I got an invitation to take the test again. I came to believe their interview process was automated, and I wondered if there was an actual human ever monitoring it,” Nikki adds. In the future, she plans to research on Glassdoor to see how the interview process has gone for others before considering a company again.

Elizabeth Lintelman, director of career services at Rasmussen University in Minnesota, says that while ghosting is a new term, a company’s lack of follow-up is not. “What has changed, however, is technology. Application submissions, interview processes, keyword searches, skills matching, artificial intelligence and the prevalence of social media are just a handful of ways in which recruitment has shifted over the years. While technology has helped recruitment fine-tune processes, it has not come without its drawbacks,” she says.  

She thinks it isn’t more frequent than in the past, but rather, more people are openly talking about it. “Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, Indeed and countless others provide job seekers a convenient and even anonymous way to share their interview and hiring experiences in a very casual way,” she says.  

“Lastly, the shift toward remote hiring has led to a less personal recruitment process. This lack of face-to-face interaction can result in diminished accountability and deprioritized communication,” Woo adds.

How companies can improve their hiring practices

Lintelman has some tips on how companies can improve their hiring practices, even if they’ve ghosted candidates in the past, intentionally or accidentally.

“A candidate’s recruitment experience can be just as valuable as a customer’s experience,” she says. “And as such, the recruitment experience should be given just as much time and attention as that of a customer. At the end of the day, your employees are your brand and one of your most valuable assets.”

She encourages companies to take a look at the following tips and also at their “almost” employees. “They too have had experience with your brand that they may be likely to share,” she says. 

  • Transparent communication: Every stage of the recruitment process should have clearly defined expectations, timelines and steps.
  • Timeliness: There must be an established process for timely follow-up between recruiters and hiring managers, and between recruiters and candidates. Even if a decision is pending, communicating the expected timeline keeps everyone informed and connected.
  • Streamline the hiring process: Lengthy, complicated processes are not only ineffective in filling vacancies, but also leave ample opportunity for missed communication and ghosting. 
  • Seek continuous improvement: One of the best ways to make meaningful improvements is by gathering feedback from those who have been through the process. Seek feedback from successful hires, and regularly review and assess the recruitment process.

Woo adds that the candidates themselves shouldn’t hesitate to follow-up two to three times, with about a week between inquiries. She also recommends following up separately with each person they’ve interacted with in the interview process. This helps reduce the chances of being ghosted after an interview. 

In a LinkedIn post, career coach Stacy Valancy said it best when she shared an anecdote about a client who was ghosted after five conversations, a personality test and an internal assignment. Valancy wrote, “This is unacceptable. We need to put the human back in human resources!” 

Photo by Antonio Guillem/